Summary: God’s judgment defended
God’s judgment defended
Romans 3:1-2, “1 What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.”
The Jews are condemned along with the heathen, what advantage is there in being the chosen nation of God? Or what profit of circumcision? Since circumcision is the sign of Israel’s covenant relationship with God, what advantage is that relationship if being Jewish will not save? For the Jews, Paul’s picture that he is painting would be depressing. All of us-pagan Gentiles, humanitarians, and religious people-are condemned by our own actions. The law, which God gave to show the way to live, holds up our evil deeds to public view. Is there any hope for us? Paul says yes, for the law condemns us, it is true, but the law is not the basis of our hope. God himself is. He in his righteousness and wonderful love, offer us eternal life. We receive our salvation not through the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. We do not-cannot-earn it; we accept it as a gift from our loving heavenly father.
Oracles in vs.2 goes back to the Greek word logion, a diminutive form of the common NT word logos, which is normally translated “word.” These are important saying or messages, especially supernatural ones. Here Paul uses the word to encompass the entire OT-the Jews received the very words of the true God (Deut 4:1-2; 6:1-2; Mark 12:24; Luke 16:29; John 5:39). The Jews had a great advantage in having he OT, because it contained the truth about salvation (2 Tim 3:15) and about the gospel in its basic form (Gal 3:8). When Paul said “preach the Word” (2 Tim 4:2), he meant the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11) recorded in Scripture.
Digging deeper into the text we see that the Jews have numerous advantages (9:4). The Jews had the covenants and laws which had been handed or given to them by God Himself to the nation of Israel. This just harkens back for us to the understanding of all the Apostles that the Old Testament was inspired by God Himself. The Bible is still just as much relevant as it was back in the early church times as it is today. The Word of the Lord speaks across the vast expanse of time calling people to repent, believe and change their ways, so that they can come into relationship; having their own personal world line up in conformity with the plans, desires and ways of an all knowing, sovereign God. The Jewish nation had many advantages: 1) They were entrusted with God’s laws (“The whole revelation of God, “Exodus 19-20; Deut 4:8). 2) They were the race through whom the Messiah came to earth (Isaiah 11:1-10; Matthew 1:1-17). 3) They were the beneficiaries of the covenants with God himself (Genesis 17:1-16; Exodus 19:3-6). But these privileges did not make them better than anyone else (3:9). In fact, because of them the Jews were even more responsible to live up to God’s requirements.
Romans 3:3-4, “3For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? 4Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:
"That You may be justified in Your words,
And may overcome when You are judged.”
Paul anticipated that the Jewish readers would disagree with his statements that God has not guaranteed to fulfill His promise to every physical descendant of Abraham. They would argue that such teaching nullifies all the promises God made to the Jews in the OT. But his answer reflects both the explicit and implicit teaching of the OT; before any Jew, regardless of the purity of his lineage, can inherit the promises, he must come to repentance and faith (9:6-7; Is 55:6-7). The faithfulness of God refers to the fact God will fulfill all the promises made to the nation, even if individual Jews are not able to receive them because of their unbelief. Every man a liar: If all mankind were to agree that God had been unfaithful to His promises, it would only prove that all are liars and God is true (Titus 1:1). It is written just affirms the Old Testament’s validity to Paul and the Apostles. As it was written in this instance goes back to Psalm 51:4, “Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight-That You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.” David realized what every believer seeking forgiveness must, that even though he had tragically wronged Bathsheba and Uriah, his ultimate crime was against God and his holy law (2nd Sam 11:27); Romans 3:4; Psalm 51:4). Even if some Jews do not believe the Word of God, God will be faithful to what He has promised (Psalm 89:30-37). (develop further)